Oxford Colonial Tour
What is the British empire? What is colonialism?
See Takes on Empire for Oxford Academics interpreting what these terms can mean.
Opening with these questions:
- Why did Rhodes Must Fall say this the PRM was the violent space in Oxford?
- Why was the Pitt Rivers set up?
- What’s in the Pitt Rivers?
- How did these objects get there?
- Discussion of the Benin Bronzes, and Fly Whisk and other appropriate objects
- What should happen to these objects now?
- Should objects be repatriated?
2. All Souls College:
- Slavery and its relationship to the British Empire and Oxford
- RMF protest outside All Souls
- Why did the protests happen?
- Why did they choose protest as a tool to express their grievance?
- How did empire begin? Ireland; Plantations; the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
- How did these enrich Britain?
To see at All Souls:
- Plaque acknowledging the origins of Codrington Library’s funds.
- Statue of Codrington.
- Who is Christopher Codrington?
- Relationship of descendants to this statue
- All Souls Reparations : how should we remember Codrington, what does reparative justice look like?
- It is tied to the resistance to slave trade, the eventual end of the slave trade, 19th c student protests, and eventually the rising importance of India for British economy
- From slavery, the story moves to the colonisation of India.
To see: Carvings; The Plaque Inside
- Why is this in Oxford?
- The Indian institute was set up to train officials of the British Raj.
- Those trained at the Indian institute would have been presiding over disasters like the Bengal famine.
- Lord Curzon is particularly interesting. He was the Viceroy of India, and eventually Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
- Relationship between race and power relations.
- Discussion of cultural appropriation and its relation to power relations
- Chronic lack of funding; current status as Oxford Martin school.
- Does this reinforce the idea of institutional interest in empire when we have it, but in post-colonial times, history is whitewashed?
- Is there a divorce of imperial history from British history? How does this tie into Gove’s reforms of Education?
4. Rhodes statue
- Why does the statue of Rhodes look so different to the statue of Codrington? What does this say about how views of empire have changed in the intervening time?
- Under him are King George V and Kind Edward VII him.
- Inscription says: E L A R G A M V N n I FI C E N T I A C A E C I L I I R H O D E S [By means of the generous munificence of Cecil Rhodes]
- Story of scramble for Africa
- Story of Rhodes :his role in conquering Rhodesia, and his role in the beginning of apartheid
- Protest against him
- History of statue, and 100 years of controversy
5. The Oxford Union:
Things to cover:
- Malcolm X speech
- Debate about reparations
- Rhodes Must Fall debate at Oxford Union
- Controversy over Ethics and Empire project.
- How does empire still exist at Oxford, how is it being challenged, and what does it mean to decolonize?